Vessel TRIAGE System – What Is It and How Does It Work?

The MSC Flaminia on fire in the North Atlantic in 2012.
The MSC Flaminia on fire in the North Atlantic in 2012.

A new system for facilitating the risk assessment of vessels in distress and to improve communication in maritime emergencies was formally introduced on Wednesday in Helsinki, Finland.

The new system, known as Vessel TRIAGE, is a way of easily categorizing a vessel’s safety status in order to assess the seriousness of the vessel’s situation and to facilitate decision-making regarding search and rescue. It is intended for use by both vessels and maritime emergency responders to assess whether a vessel can provide a safe environment for the people aboard, or if they should abandon ship ASAP. The system expresses the safety status of the vessel in terms of a Vessel TRIAGE category – easily classified from good to bad using the color codes GREEN, YELLOW, RED and BLACK.

The new system was developed as a multi-national project led by the Finnish Border Guard, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency and the Finnish Transport Agency, with finding by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Representatives from close to 40 organizations from about 15 countries also provided input in the project.

Since no equivalent vessel categorization systems exists, the aim is to spread the system for international use.

So how exactly does the system work? Check out the video below for a complete breakdown:

The Vessel TRIAGE project was launched in 2012 and is currently in the third stage of development, which includes today’s publishing event and the finalization of documentation that will be handed over to the IMO for consideration.

More information about Vessel TRIAGE can be found at the Finnish Border Guard website.